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Old 03-01-2020, 05:21 PM   #1
pwalker8
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The Magician

Over the years, I've been reading about how wonderful The Magician is, i.e. it's basically a older version of Harry Potter. I finally broke down and bought it. After getting about a third of the way through, I have to ask - Does it get any better? Because so far, I'm not impressed.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:27 PM   #2
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You might have to be a bit more specific. I'm assuming you don't mean The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham, and I'm assuming you don't mean Magician (no "The") by Raymond E. Feist - neither of which seem (to me) to be at all similar to Harry Potter. There's a series call The Magician by Patricia C. Wrede, which I'm not familiar with but doesn't look "older" except in setting. Any more hints?
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:44 PM   #3
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I believe he meant The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Loved, despised and "meh"-ed in just about equal proportions by many.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:55 PM   #4
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Thanks, DiapDealer. I've not read anything from Grossman, but now I look at the description it seems a good match for the OP.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I believe he meant The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Loved, despised and "meh"-ed in just about equal proportions by many.
Yep, exactly what I meant. I should have been more specific and listed the author. I think you answered my question.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:05 PM   #6
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You might have to be a bit more specific. I'm assuming you don't mean The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham, and I'm assuming you don't mean Magician (no "The") by Raymond E. Feist - neither of which seem (to me) to be at all similar to Harry Potter. There's a series call The Magician by Patricia C. Wrede, which I'm not familiar with but doesn't look "older" except in setting. Any more hints?
The Grossman series. I haven't read the Maugham book, loved the Feist series and really liked the Wrede series (kind of a Victorian period with magic.)
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:10 PM   #7
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I've not read them myself. But the outrage from fantasy/Narnia purists over them has always intrigued me. I'm a fan of tropes being upended. So long as the author doesn't waste time trying to be subtle about it anyway.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:21 PM   #8
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I'm in the "meh" group. It was an interesting premise but it felt like he added sex and adult themes just for the sake of adding sex and adult themes.

I was amused when I re-read my comment to myself after reading DiapDealer's comment:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
But the outrage from fantasy/Narnia purists over them has always intrigued me. I'm a fan of tropes being upended. So long as the author doesn't waste time trying to be subtle about it anyway.
My original note to myself:
Quote:
Angsty, drunken Harry Potter goes to Narnia? I liked the first part (school) but lost interest after they graduate.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:49 AM   #9
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Angsty, drunken Harry Potter goes to Narnia? I liked the first part (school) but lost interest after they graduate.
I was pretty much in the same boat - I liked the first book enough to pick up the next, but got pretty bored after that.

OP, are you looking for something specifically with a similar vibe to Harry Potter, or are you more looking for "HP for adults"? And are there any specific things that turned you off about The Magicians, or are you just "meh"?
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
Over the years, I've been reading about how wonderful The Magician is, i.e. it's basically a older version of Harry Potter. I finally broke down and bought it. After getting about a third of the way through, I have to ask - Does it get any better? Because so far, I'm not impressed.
I've not read this, but I have seen the TV series based on the book and I do like the TV series. I've seen the first 3 seasons and am watching the 4th season. There are 5 seasons.

Last edited by JSWolf; 03-02-2020 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:38 AM   #11
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I've not read this, but I have seen the TV series based on the book and I do like the TV series. I've seen the first 3 seasons and am watching the 4th season. There are 5 seasons.
I read the books, but haven't watched the series. I liked the series, but I agree that the first book was the best. There were some parts of the later books that made me laugh because of the shady references to Narnia...although I truly loved the Narnia books, I agree with DiapDealer that upending tropes is usually a good thing. If for no other reason than to give perspective.

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Old 03-02-2020, 08:13 AM   #12
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I was pretty much in the same boat - I liked the first book enough to pick up the next, but got pretty bored after that.

OP, are you looking for something specifically with a similar vibe to Harry Potter, or are you more looking for "HP for adults"? And are there any specific things that turned you off about The Magicians, or are you just "meh"?
I'm just looking for books that I enjoy, it doesn't have to have the same vibe as Harry Potter. I just picked The Magicians up because it has been getting good reviews. Of course, there are quite a few well received books that I didn't particularly care for.

Nothing in particular turned me off, I was just meh about it. Reading stories about depressed, lonely, angst ridden teenagers/young adults just isn't all that interesting to me, especially when there is no indication that the characters are going to stop being depressed, lonely, angst ridden teenagers/young adults.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:15 AM   #13
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I loved the whole trilogy, but I'm always wary of recommending them because some people really can't abide them.

I kind of liked the fact that Quentin makes terrible decisions and never seems to learn from his mistakes, but some people can't get past their impulse to slap him. It felt realistic to me - as someone who is not infallible - and didn't stop me being sympathetic.

If anything I was wary of the second and third books undercutting the first, but I don't think they did.

The Magicians was my favourite book of whichever year it was I read it.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:20 AM   #14
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I've not read them myself. But the outrage from fantasy/Narnia purists over them has always intrigued me. I'm a fan of tropes being upended. So long as the author doesn't waste time trying to be subtle about it anyway.
Can't say that I'm outraged, just bored. Of course, I'm also not a Narnia purist either. I much preferred Middle Earth to Narnia. Yea, he's not particularly subtle about the Narnia references.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:19 PM   #15
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If you want a grown-up story with magicians, I reccomend Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. For a Wizarding school that makes Hogwart's look like a Monetssori class, I reccomend A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula k. Le Guin, assuming you haven't read them.
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